At least you’re in Tuscany: book review

How many times did you think the grass is greener somewhere else or how often did you imagine not going back when on a vacation? Do you catch yourself imagining packing bags and starting your life in a different place? You do, but lack the guts to go through with it?

Well, recently I read a really great book of someone who did. Jennifer Criswell, the author of At least you’re in Tuscany risked it all to have a new start, in a small village of Montepulciano, a world apart from the New York City she left behind. Accompanied only by her dog she set out to live in the land of her ancestors, which she only knew from a few short visits, that made her fall in love with everything that makes this land special; beautiful scenery of rolling hills, fields of poppies, great food and tasty wines, friendly people and a slower pace of life.

I was jealous when I started reading the story, I mean here was a woman risking it all to pursue her dream, not just talking about it and complaining. No, really doing it. And I thought I’ll resent it, the adventure and if everything happens to be just awesome, I’ll stop reading completely.

Not what happened. This isn’t just another feel good book full of stereotypes, a love story with a happy ending. No, it’s an honest tale with ups and downs and a true yet of course subjective voice of the author that leads you through the hoops of making a life in a small village in Tuscany. No, it’s not peachy, and I often wondered why is she persevering when so much is against her – the language, the slow bureaucracy not allowing her to get the necessary papers for work, hence no money, a love affair that has the whole village talking, people who are hard to befriend and way of life she doesn’t always understand. Despite it all, she sticks to her enthusiasm, optimism and finds humor in the lessons she gets served. She achieved what she set out to do and every trouble can be lessened because it’s in Tuscany. I was rooting for her all the way to the end.

It’s a great read for the upcoming Summer, holiday days, especially if you are contemplating a visit to Tuscany. The book also helped me understand what it takes. It’s not just about having courage to leave, it’s also having strength to endure, because though the grass may be greener somewhere else, it still might hide things you will have to face and you’d better be ready to do it.

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